While elections are viewed as the lynchpin of modern democracies, few works have adequately assessed the role played by political parties in mobilizing voters. Much of the extant work has relied on the number of parties in a party system to estimate the impact on voter turnout; not surprisingly, the voluminous literature on voter turnout has arrived at a theoretical impasse regarding the relationship between party systems and voter turnout. We argue that in order to better understand the relationship between party systems and voter turnout, researchers should consider other relevant party system measures. In particular, several scholars have surmised that party system stability holds numerous implications for democracies, but there has yet to be an empirical analysis of this claim. In this study, we anticipate that lower volatility and replacement rates - both indicating more stable party systems - should have a positive impact on aggregate turnout. Even when including several control variables, the results of our cross-sectional time-series analyses confirm our hypotheses.
- electoral volatility
- party system institutionalization
- party systems
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Sociology and Political Science